People Who Have Been to Hell and Back
We have all heard of stories of people who have experienced heaven and lived to tell the tale. But not all near-death-experiences are that positive. Countless people have been to hell either through a dream, a vision, or a near-death-experience. While we should always rely on the Bible to tell us what hell is really like, stories of others can provide us with much to think about.
It can be quite fascinating to research this phenomenon. While there are many similarities throughout the stories of these ten individuals, there are also a great number of differences. Let’s take a closer look at the stories of ten people who have been to hell and back.
1. Bill Wiese
On a November morning in 1998, Bill Wiese, Author of 23 Minutes In Hell had an experience that would forever alter the course of his life. In an event that he relates to a vision, Bill Wiese, a devout Christian, describes his experience as being “plunged into hell”. In his book, 23 Minutes in Hell, Bill Wiese describes many horrifying sights, smells, and sounds.
After what felt like falling down a long tunnel, Bill found himself in a dark, dirty prison. Many people wonder if hell is hot or cold. He shares that he experienced an intense heat that seemed too hot for life to even survive. While in this foul prison-like cell, Bill realized two large creatures shared the cell with him.
During his time in hell, which lasted exactly 23 minutes, Bill Wiese experienced a great number of horrors including torture, intense darkness, a raging pit of fire, screaming, foul odors, and varying levels of torment.
Suddenly, Bill recalls seeing a bright light and felt himself rising out of the tunnel through which he had previously descended. Following his vision, Bill knew his life calling was to share his experience with the world. After sharing his experience with anyone who would listen, he recorded the entire saga in his first book, 23 Minutes in Hell.
Bill Wiese has dedicated his life to sharing his experience, encouraging believers and unbelievers to understand the reality of hell. He continues to teach through his outreach ministry, Soul Choice Ministries.
2. Reverend Kenneth Hagin
Born and raised in a Christian family, Reverend Kenneth Hagin experienced hell at the age of 15 in a near-death-experience resulting from a chronic heart condition. In his book titled I Believe in Visions, Reverend Hagin shares his experience with hell. Unlike Bill Wiese, Kenneth Hagin’s experience began when his heart ceased to beat. He recalls the feeling of numbness spreading throughout his body.
In his book, he recounts his experience as follows, “I began to descend down, down, into a pit, like you’d go down into a well, cavern or cave. And I continued to descend. I went down feet first. I could look up and see the lights of the Earth. They finally faded away. Darkness encompassed me round about — darkness that is blacker than any night man has ever seen.”
Reverend Hagin shares many descriptions of hell similar to others including intense darkness, unbearable heat, strange creatures, and great flames of fire. Fortunately for Kenneth Hagin, his doctors were able to save him from seemingly inevitable death. He continued to serve God in his adult years, pastoring Rhema Bible Church and founding Kenneth Hagin Ministries.
3. Jennifer Perez
Jennifer Perez was another young Christian who had a shocking experience with hell while she slipped in and out of consciousness. Unlike Bill Wiese and Kenneth Hagin, Jennifer was first led to heaven, and then to hell. She recalls finding herself standing, ashamed, in front of God. She acknowledged the fact that although she claimed to be a Christian, she failed to show the fruit of her faith.
After this interaction, Jennifer recalls the feeling of falling. As she continued to fall, she felt her surroundings becoming hotter and hotter. She felt an unquenchable thirst as she smelled the intense smell of sulfur. Many of the other things she shares in her account are similar to others including torture, demons, and screams of agony.
Fortunately, Jennifer’s life was spared and she went on to share her story in hopes of warning individuals who were lost or had grown lukewarm in their faith.
4. Matthew Botsford
Unlike the other people we have mentioned, Matthew Botsford was far from Christianity when he had his near-death-experience in hell. After Matthew was shot in the head, doctors decided to put him in a medically induced coma to save his life. This coma lasted 27 days.
Matthew describes his experience immediately following being shot in the following way, “Utter blackness. Incredible fear. I went to a place that I believe was hell. It was void of anything good. Beyond anything any words could describe.”
In his experience, he remembers terrifying creatures, torment, and profound isolation. While it was not immediate, Matthew Botsford eventually recovered and gave his life over to God.
5. Sister Faustina
In one of the earliest recorded experiences of hell, Sister Faustina, a Polish nun shares similar sentiments to the other individuals we have discussed. While it is unclear whether Sister Faustina’s experience was a vision or a near-death encounter, she describes hell as endless torment, impenetrable darkness, and a “terrible suffocating smell”.
6. Ian McCormack
Ian McCormack’s near-death-experience in hell began with an encounter with a deadly jellyfish. Upon arriving at the hospital, Ian was pronounced dead as the staff failed to find a pulse. He describes his brief encounter with hell as more than physical darkness, “…there was something else there. I could feel a cold eerie feeling as though something or someone was looking at me.”
Ian McCormack prayed in desperation and was saved from the darkness by a bright light. He believes that God allowed him to decide whether he would return to earth or enter heaven. Ian wished to return to earth to share his story with those who did not know God.
In a truly miraculous healing, Ian left the hospital the day following his tragic accident. He proceeded to read the entire Bible in the 6 weeks following this experience.
7. Tamara Laroux
At the young age of 15, Tamara Laroux attempted to take her own life. She felt herself leave her body as she fell at an unstoppable speed and remembers entering a space of darkness with absolutely no light. She saw a fiery pit as she took in her surroundings, screaming in complete agony. Tamara remembers seeing thousands of others around her, yet feeling a sense of total isolation.
Miraculously, Tamara felt a bright hand carry her up to heaven after which she found herself back in her home. She survived her attempted suicide in what the doctors could only describe as a miracle and has spent the remainder of her life teaching people about the reality of hell.
8. Howard Storm
A strict atheist at the time of his near-death-experience, Howard Storm nearly died following emergency surgery. He recalls dark figures in a dark room, demons, and above all, endless torment. He made a shocking recovery and went on to become a minister in the United Church of Christ.
9. Sister Josefa Menendez
During her short life, Sister Josefa Menedez recorded several experiences in hell. She acquaints these to visions rather than near-death-encounters. In her experiences, she tells of detailed torture, putrid odors, demons, and a pit of fire.
10. Father Jose Maniyangat
Father Jose Maniyangat had a near-death-experience in hell after being hit by a drunk driver. During his brief time in hell, he says he experienced unbearable heat, agony-filled screaming, and unceasing torture.
Regardless of your current religious beliefs, these stories of people who have been to hell are certainly terrifying. If you are unsure of your beliefs surrounding hell, I would encourage you to read more about the afterlife here.